Close-mindedness at root of local, national gay rights issues

Monica Clark/Staff Writer
Recently throughout the United States and even Ankeny, Iowa, parents have been protesting about a children’s book entitled And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. It is based on a true story of two gay male penguins at a New York zoo adopting an abandoned baby named Tango. Parents are saying that it is not right for young children to be exposed to the “gay undertones”.

As a Christian, I have personally been brought up very openly. I’ve been exposed to different ideas and outlooks, and I have learned to not be prejudiced against anyone for the sole reason that we all are people.

We each have things that make us who we are as individuals, and there is not just one quality in my opinion that defines a person. For me, saying that you are gay is like saying you have brown hair or saying that you play soccer. Being gay does not consume your whole being. It’s a part of you, yes, but gay people also have lives and feelings and hopes and dreams. They are just like everyone else.

Last year, the author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, announced that the famous headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, was indeed gay. Many wondered if this was a cry for more publicity for her books, but I disagree.

Being the author of a book that has been accused of bringing children over to witchcraft and magic, I do not think it would have been wise to construct another reason for parents to ban the books.

In my LAE class, we discussed why Rowling may have not put that detail in her books until inklings in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We discussed why we thought it wasn’t an important detail to the book. It didn’t change the fact that Dumbledore was a brilliant, kind hearted man and a guiding teacher to all who knew him.

Knowing that someone is gay should not change the outlook you have on the person no matter what you believe. They are still live, breathing human beings.

Throughout the ages we have been prejudiced against certain races, ethnic groups, religions, beliefs, sexual orientations and nationalities. We judge by what we see and what we think we know and not by what we discover when we get to know them. In so many instances we fear what we don’t know.

So what is so wrong about having a book dealing with two gay penguins taking care of a baby? If by exposing children to this now makes them realize that everyone is equal no mater who they are, why not? For too long children and teenagers have been sheltered to the happenings of the world, and I think we need to start learning about the world we live in as children. By letting us be exposed to this at a young age, we can come to realize that acceptance is a qualification in this world.
I don’t mean that we need to force someone to believe in something they don’t feel strongly about, but hating someone for who they are and what they chose isn’t right.

I can’t change the fact that I was born white or American or with brown hair. But what do we do? We change.
Just for the need to fit in. I admit that I’ve even fallen for this many times, and I can bet we all have, but by embracing who we are for what we are, and learning from each other, all of us together can make this world a better place.

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